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Ruminations. Reflections. Refractions. Code.

Nov 13, 2010 - Uncategorized

Meow

And here we have scientific proof that lolcats‘ depiction of cats who plot and manipulate is indeed true, not some figment of the human imagination! Ah, Pepo, you devil you. As I was once told by ruby2shoes (and as the intertubes says so too, it must be true), “dogs have owners, cats have staff”.

In other news, we also have scientific proof that “cats know more about fluid mechanics than dogs“!

Wonder what we’ll find out next… stay tuned for the rise of the lolcats.

Nov 13, 2010 - arts

“New Butterfly”, by Ade ISHS

New Butterfly” is Ade’s second album. You can find my review of his first album, “Visions“, here. The same disclaimer in that post applies to this review.

As before, the album is contemporary instrumental piano. The music is simply beautiful. Both relaxing and deeply contemplative. Ade’s in no rush to finish a song, the timing is just right. The notes feel a lot more harmonious, diverse, confident. My favourites include “Jakarta at Night 3“, “Go on 2“, “I Saw Happiness“, and “Moving Ashburton“. “Jakarta at Night 3” – well if you have spent a night in Jakarta – the faintly cool night breeze in a city named after a prince, you’ll get the connection. Tracks average 6-8 minutes in length. One contrast (in both feel, and length) is “Unity in Diversity“, a short (1:35!), light piece.

Highly recommended, awe-some. 1010 stars. Still DRM-free (yay!).

Oct 23, 2010 - arts general philosophy

Garudas, Phoeni[xes|ces], Eagles

_Disclaimer: Some of these views are my own, they may not be accurate, they may be downright wrong in fact – they are opinions. Please research accordingly. This article is not meant to be a historical thesis of any sort, just observations and personal inferences.

With the disclaimer out of the way, I can go crazy with fiction or non-fiction as I please, whee.

I got into a discussion about ancient history today with a senior teacher of mine. It reminded me of how much I used to like stories, myths, legends, and associated symbolism. Anyway one link led to another, and I began reading about Prambanan12 – a temple in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia built around the 9th or 10th century. One of the depicted major gods in Prambanan is Vishnu, one of the 3 major Hindu Gods3, whose consort/vehicle is the Garuda[4.1]5 – a mythical powerful bird.

In Indonesia, the Garuda is used as a national symbol, a symbol for the Pancasila6 – the 5 unifying cross-cultural, cross-religious, tenets of Indonesia.

A part of article 2 and article 5 tell of Garuda as being the son of a mighty sage Kasyapa and his wife Vinata. Paraphrasing 5, in short, Garuda had a brother, Aruna, who was born misshapen. Aruna was forced out of an egg (like a real egg, think chickens, not wombs) by Vinata’s (his mother) impatience and overexcitement.

Aruna was angry that he suffered this and cursed his mother. The details of this curse are unclear – 5 says that the mother became a slave to Naga, I’ll let you read up on it. Essentially, the fix to this situation was for Garuda to steal some heavenly ambrosia – a non-trivial feat (we’ll need to trust the myths on this) – guarded by various beings. Garuda was able to do this and save his mother. This virtuous quality of being able to save one from a disaster underlies (among several other things I suspect) the choice of using Garuda as a national symbol.

Article [4.2] depicts various uses of Garuda as symbols in an organisational or governmental setting. Article 5 gives an overview of the use of Garuda in Thailand.

The Greeks (and Romans) revered the Phoenix[7.1] “as a symbol of rebirth, immortality, and renewal”[7.1]. USA uses the Bald Eagle[8.1] as their national symbol. According to [8.1], “The founders of the United States were fond of comparing their new republic with the Roman Republic, in which eagle imagery was prominent”. I suspect that the eagle in turn was inspired by the phoenix in those circles. A phoenix is also most closely associated as being the European mythological counterpart to the Eastern Garuda[7.2].

Furthermore, [8.2] speaks of the role of eagles in Native American culture, an ancient culture with their own series of mythology and belief systems. It is highly likely this also factored into the decision to use the Bald Eagle as a US national symbol.

It’s fascinating (to me anyway) that so many places come to similar symbolism, in spite of the vast diversity, and physical proximities between the lands.

Something to munch on on a Saturday. Speaking of munching, I am starved. Exeunt.

References

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prambanan

2 http://my.opera.com/akbar_taksisman/blog/2009/03/30/candi-prambanan (in Bahasa Indonesia unfortunately)

3 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trimurti – Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer, Brahma the Creator. Hinduism is considered to be a polytheistic religion, however, I believe this to be a superficial classification. In fact, many of the older Yoga-based philosophies are very monotheistic. The various divinities and deities being almost individual aspects of the One. In that, it is both monotheistic and polytheistic – the many from the One, and eventually back to the One. It is my personal view, that many of the “modern” groups have, perhaps accidentally, muddled the core essence.

[4.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda

[4.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda#As_a_cultural_and_national_symbol

5 http://tudtu.tripod.com/garuda.htm – use of Garuda in Thailand.

6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancasila_(politics)

[7.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)

[7.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_(mythology)#Specific_legends

[8.1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#The_national_bird_of_the_United_States

[8.2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald_Eagle#Role_in_Native_American_culture

Sep 25, 2010 - software dev

Indonesia Linux Conference (ILC) Oktober 2010

    Jika anda seorang antusias Linux di Indonesia, mungkin tertarik dengan konferensi ILC! Sayang saya lagi di luar negeri.

    If you’re a Linux enthusiast in Indonesia, you may be interested in the ILC! Too bad I’m not in the country.

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